Riding on the exceptional performance of Suryakumar Yadav, Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by six wickets in the first Qualifier to enter IPL final for the fifth time on Tuesday.On a tough pitch, Suryakumar unleashed all sorts of copybook shots to score an unbeaten 71 off 54 balls to lead MI to the winning target of 132 in 18.3 overs.
However CSK will get another chance to enter the final if they win in the second Qualifier against the winner of the 'Eliminator' between Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Earlier put to bat first, CSK scored 132 in the sluggish pitch of Chepauk stadium. While chasing the score, MI also got to a bad start by losing senior players Rohit Sharma (4) and Quinton de Kock (8). Soon, Surya and Ishan Kishan (28, 31 balls) stitched a partnership adding 80 runs that set the platform.
While Surya hit 10 fours, the normally aggressive Kishan had three fours and a six in his innings. While Imran Tahir (2/33 in 4 overs) dismissed Kishan and Krunal Pandya (0) off successive deliveries in the 14th over, it was more a of minor scare as Surya anchored the chase with ease in Hardik Pandya's company.
The best part about Surya's batting was how late he played both Tahir and Ravindra Jadeja (0/18 in 4 overs) whenever they got the ball to turn away from the right-hander, playing it past the short third-man fielder.
In the end, the difference was created by the three Mumbai Indians spinners Rahul Chahar (2/14 in 4 overs), Krunal Pandya (1/21 in 4 overs) and Jayant Yadav (1/25 in 3 overs), who gave away only 60 runs in the 11 overs between them taking four wickets.
Earlier, Dhoni failed to launch a brutal assault on a sluggish pitch but did enough in company of Ambati Rayudu to propel Chennai Super Kings to 131 for 4, which was more than a fighting total in testing conditions.
The CSK total was built largely on a fifth wicket stand of 66 off 48 balls between Dhoni (37 no off 29 balls) and Rayudu (42 no off 37 balls) when other batsmen found going tough. Dhoni smashed Lasith Malinga for two huge sixes in the penultimate over to provide impetus to the CSK innings, which was stymied by the MI bowlers, especially the spinners. MI leg-spinner Rahul continued his impressive season, with a superb spell, keeping the batsmen on a leash with turn and bounce.